Nao Santa María, “Floating Museum,” Coming Back To Fernandina Beach

A replica of the famous ship captained by Christopher Columbus is scheduled to dock once again downtown (tours available).

The city of Fernandina Beach has announced the Nao Santa María is returning to the city’s marina. For those who missed the ship’s previous visit back in early June 2021, or would like to see it again, the opportunity will present itself in October. (Photos seen here were taken during the ship’s June visit).

Nao Santa María Tours — October 2021

The Nao Santa María will navigate to the Fernandina Harbor Marina, arriving on October 4th. The public can tour the Nao Santa María while docked from October 5, 2021 through October 12, 2021. ** NEWS UPDATE (10-13-2021) — The ship’s stay has been extended, tours will continue to be offered through October 17, 2021. ** This visit to Fernandina is said to be the ship’s last U.S. port of call before returning to its home port in Spain.

Nao Santa Maria on Amelia River, On Its Way to Fernandina's Downtown Marina. Photo by
Nao Santa Maria navigating Amelia River, heading to Fernandina (photo June 2, 2021)

Visitors take self-guided tours “through the 5 decks of the Santa María, where you can find informative panels with the history of the ship, ornamental elements of the time and talk with the crew,” according to the ship’s website.

The Santa María was the largest ship of the famous Columbus trio that included the Nina and Pinta. In a logbook, Columbus recorded the Santa María hit a reef off the coast of Haiti on Christmas Eve in 1492. Sailors used the ship’s timber to build a small fort, known as La Navidad.

Watching the Nao Santa María pass by Fort Clinch State Park’s riverbank was a nice vantage point for observation as it moved through the water on its way to Fernandina’s downtown marina.

Fort Clinch riverfront shoreline, Fernandina Beach, waiting for Santa Maria to pass by.
Fort Clinch riverfront shoreline, Fernandina Beach

From “the point” of cedars on the river, the Santa María first appeared as it came around the corner near the small fishing dock on the Fort Clinch riverbank (pictured below ).

Nao Santa Maria Columbus ship replica passing by Fort Clinch riverbank near campground's fishing dock. Photo by Amelia Island Living magazine.
Nao Santa Maria passing by Fort Clinch near fishing dock at river campground (photo June 2021)
Nao Santa María Tour Tickets & Hours

Visitors can get a glimpse of on board life of Spanish sailors more than five centuries ago. Tours of the ship are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tour ticket prices: Adults $15, Kids $5 (between 5 and 12 years old), Family $35 (Includes up to two adults and three kids). Under 5 is free. Tickets can be purchased at the Fernandina Harbor Marina dock.

Santa Maria Columbus ship tours, Fernandina Harbor Marina.
People tour Nao Santa Maria at Fernandina Harbor Marina (photo June 2021)

For further information or to buy tickets online, visit the website.